Academy voter-bros are refusing to even watch free screenings of ‘Little Women’

Teresa and Joe Giudice in Elizabeth New Jersey

For some reason, I’ve been thinking about this piece from The Cut a lot – it’s years-old, although it gets brought out every Christmas season now. It’s about the bros who love Love Actually, even though Love Actually is a rom-com about love and emotions and relationships. There’s the implication that bros are too inherently toxic to enjoy a movie like Love Actually, but the bros interviewed by The Cut are sort of cult-like in their love for it. I always imagine there are more bros like that out in the world, that there are so many bros who would genuinely enjoy rom-coms and “girl movies” and “movies which pass the Bechdel Test” if the bros merely gave those films a chance. Little Women is a story beloved by girls and women for generations. But with Greta Gerwig’s latest adaptation, we’re going through another episode of But How Do Bros Feel About This Piece Of Art Which Is Not About Them? Turns out, the bros will not even watch Little Women at a free f–king screening. Dudes. Come on.

The first public screenings of Little Women were filled to capacity, but the distributors and awards-season strategists behind Greta Gerwig’s new film were worried nonetheless. The audience was overwhelmingly comprised of women—and the voting memberships of various Hollywood awards ceremonies are obviously not. That trend may account for why the critically beloved adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel had an underwhelming showing in last week’s awards nominations. The team behind the film hopes to reverse that by the time Oscar nomination voting opens on January 2.

“It’s a completely unconscious bias. I don’t think it’s anything like a malicious rejection,” said producer Amy Pascal. Still, she doesn’t believe men gave the movie a shot. RSVPs for the first screening in October, as well as many others that Sony Pictures hosted around Los Angeles in recent weeks, were skewed about two to one in favor of women. ”I don’t think that [men] came to the screenings in droves, let me put it that way,” Pascal said. “And I’m not sure when they got their [screener] DVDs that they watched them.”

The team behind Little Women was braced for bad news last week when the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes announced their nominations—and it got it. The film, which opens nationally on December 25, received only a dramatic-actress nod for Saoirse Ronan from the Globes, along with an original-score nod for composer Alexandre Desplat. It got nothing at all from SAG. Pascal, the longtime producer and former studio chief at Sony, cited a similar claim made last week by Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas, who felt her film, about an African-American couple targeted in a police stop that turns violent, was not given a fair chance by voters. “I think it’s kind of the same thing. It’s a different bias,” Pascal said. “[Voters think], These kinds of stories are important to me, and these kinds of stories are less important to me.”

[From Vanity Fair]

I covered Melina Matsouka’s comments last week – she said that members of the HFPA didn’t even attend screenings of Queen & Slim, and she spoke about how the whole awards season stuff has been built around men at this point, not for women or people of color. CB and I also spoke about the seeming omnipresence of “dad movies” at the Globes especially – Ford vs. Ferrari and The Irishman. Bros who happen to be dads just want to see movies about cars and mobsters, not little women.

VF’s piece on how dudes won’t give Little Women a chance is a lot longer than what I excerpted. At one point, Amy Pascal simply pleads with male Academy voters to just give Little Women a chance, to just attend one of the screenings or watch one of the screeners. One of the male actors in the film, Tracy Letts (who plays the publisher of Jo’s book), was even harsher when he spoke to VF:

“I just don’t understand it. I’m really flummoxed by it,” he said. “I mean, I’d like to think that there are a lot of other factors for why somebody maybe doesn’t want to tune in, because they…I don’t know, that they’ve seen too many versions of Little Women, it looks too light or too Christmas-y? I don’t know what the hell it is. But please tell me it’s not because it’s a movie about women. I just can’t believe we’re still having this f–king discussion where movies by men, and about men, and for men are considered default movies. And women’s movies fall into this separate and unequal category. It’s absurd.”

[From Vanity Fair]

It is absurd. I think another one of the reasons why Little Women’s awards-season campaign is going so badly is because of the compressed timeline – in another year, there would have been a few more weeks where prominent male Academy voters could have hosted screenings of Little Women and used their male privilege to help the film. But there’s not enough time for that at this point. Plus… and I hate to be That Bitch, but here we go: is it also possible that Gerwig’s version of Little Women isn’t all that and a bag of chips?

Teresa and Joe Giudice in Elizabeth New Jersey

Actor Hugh Grant at Mark Kermode Live in 3D

Photos courtesy of WENN, Sony.

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62 Responses to “Academy voter-bros are refusing to even watch free screenings of ‘Little Women’”

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  1. Valiantly Varnished says:

    It may not be all that and a bag of chips. But how the hell would they know if they refuse to screen the film??

    • Hello says:

      This. Plus, the early reviews are borderline rapturous.

    • Jadedone says:

      There also wasnt any assumption that Queen and Slim wasnt good just that the voters were ignorant

    • Snazzy says:


    • Millennial says:

      The Irishmen ain’t all that and a bag of chips either but it’s going to be showered with nominations. If white male mediocrity can be nominated, it will. But god forbid a woman or person of color makes a B+ film. Forget about it.

    • BBBhill says:

      This reminds me of how nobody even bothered to go to the screenings of Queen & Slim, or the other year w/that one Anonymous Academy voter who said she ‘didn’t feel like’ watching so-and-so movies (WTF?? It’s your job to watch them all)

      It’s all lip service, but the women get shut out over and over.

  2. I will admit I had no intention of seeing this in the theatre, I tend to do period pieces at home and bigger blockbusters that require a big screen in the theatre.

    Now it will get my $9 for the seat and $394 for popcorn and a drink on principle.

  3. Rando says:

    Ok but can we discus why Emma Watson is doing NO PRESS for the film? Yeah she posted stuff on insta but she’s not doing nearly the same amount of promotional activities that her cast mates are?

    Also, not for nothing, but this is like the 8th film/tv adaption. At some point don’t people get fatigued? I don’t think the lack of support for this movie specifically can be wholly attributed to ‘because it’s about women by women’.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      How many more movies do we need about white male gangsters? And yet Im sure these dude bros are lining up to screen The Irishman.

    • Emily says:

      My issue with Little Women is the same as with a Star is Born last year. It’s been done before. It may be good because the source material is, but does it add anything original?

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        And that question goes right back to my original comment. How would anyone know unless they actually watch the film??

      • Marianne says:

        But A Star is Born was an awards darling still, though.

      • PurpleHoulihan says:

        That’s like asking if Patty Jenkins could possible add anything to Wonder Women after all the comic books and live and animated series.

        This is the first time a film version has been controlled by women — from the writing to the producing and the directing. And by all accounts, it DOES. Gerwig has a completely fresh take on Laurie that doesn’t make him a heart throb. Same goes for Amy, Jo, and the professor. They’ve given explicit and detailed information about it in their interviews, and the reviews and released clips back it up.

    • PPP says:

      No one’s tired of Spiderman, tho.

    • Jerusha says:

      Just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean everybody has seen every version or even any of them. I’ve seen the Katharine Hepburn(1930s)and the June Allyson(1940s)films, but none of the others. I’ll be going to this one, and in the theatre. Fast and Furious has been done about 73 times, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

    • broodytrudy says:

      Emma hasn’t done a ton of press for her movies though. She did for the potter films and I’m sure we can all agree that it was A LOT-particularly the countdown to her being 18. I think she just doesn’t want to do it? She did the screenings and such for Beauty am definitely the Beast, but wasn’t out there seemingly as much for interviews. She does sound bites here and there for Little Women, but just in different ways. The type of press she’s currently doing isn’t going to be reported on by People Mag. Maybe she just doesn’t like doing traditional press anymore.

      Emma isn’t the only one not doing a ton of press on this movie. Greta has been basically it as the person up front and pushing it.

  4. Cidy says:

    Even if we personally dont think it’s good- why would they refuse to see it?? They give Oscar’s to bad movies all the time. That’s a nonissue.

    That having been said… in my OPINION, I didnt like the movie. My lovely friend thought I would like to see it because I own the book. Lies. I didnt want to see this. The amazing actors and actresses couldn’t save it because it was almost chemistry-less. There were multiple points where I felt literal embarrassment watching it lol

  5. Skyblue121 says:

    I haven’t read the Cut article about bros loving Love, Actually, but has it occurred to anyone that the reason “bros” might love that particular movie is because it is a misogynistic piece of crap? Just sayin’

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      Yep, I’m not surprised bros love “Love Actually,” as the movie truly is “a misogynistic piece of crap.” The female characters are just objects to serve the desires of the male characters. Bros would have to love that.

    • BBBhill says:


      Yes!! I can’t stand Love Actually.
      I have *no clue* why ppl like that movie…

      also creepy —- the internet pointed out over the weekend that Kiera Knightly was 18 YEARS OLD in that film, only 5 YEARS older than the little boy character. and yes, she’s the bride. wtf…??

      This industry & the men that run it, I stg imma go nuclear

    • Ellen Olenska says:

      Absolutely. My first thought was. “Of course they love it…the guys all “ win.” Emma Thompson sucks up her sadness and goes to the kids play. Any guy who has a rocky start in the film (the Colin character, Liam Neesom’s character, Colin Firth’s character) winds up hooking up and batting way out of their league, The only guys who “lose” (and I use that term in the mildest sense here) are Karl at the office with Laura Linney and cue card guy. Do you honestly think they were crying in their pillows that night? The bro’s know they were going to be just fine…

  6. zilin says:

    Nah, the movie is just not great. It’s over acted, cingy and frankly unoriginal. The whole approach of doing it with flashbacks back and forth was just disorineting and contrubuted nothing to the story. Went to see it at the cinema with genuine excitement and left disappointed. Can’t we have some original film ideas? This one has been done 3 times in the past 20 years.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Except you actually saw the movie. Those Oscar voters haven’t. They’re refusing to see it to make that determination.

    • BBBhill says:

      the reason we don’t have original films anymore (mostly) is bc the studios know they can make more (essentially guaranteed) money w/‘established IP” ( IP = Intellectual Property ) aka already established stories/franchises/characters a lot of ppl already know & ppl (a LOT of fanboys..) pay $$$$ for

      They won’t take risks bc to them why do so when you can make more $$$$$$ w/an established IP. Now, if ppl didn’t go see all these films, THEN the studios would try others things *only* bc of losing money. It’s all about money. China esp only responds to the blockbustery films & these days, it’s all about international gross & China is stupid big and unlike India w/Bollywood, there’s no local **dominant** filmmaking market. The CCP is literally committing the Holocaust 2.0 right now but studios / corporations don’t care cause cash is king.

      Now that the Paramount Decrees have been struck down we & original stories are REALLY screwed

  7. Ann says:

    I get a sense that this is less about an obvious outpouring of sexism and more people passing on a remake of a story that’s been told many times in many different mediums. I don’t want to see it. I’ve read the book. I’ve seen a couple movie versions. I’ve watched the play. I’m set for life on reiterations of this story.

    Side note: anytime I see anything related to Little Women I think of Joey Tribbiani crying over Beth and putting the book in the freezer. Maybe the real life dude bros aren’t here for this story but the fictional ones love it!

    • Emily says:

      I agree that part of the reluctance to watch it is that it’s been done before. It’s why I won’t see it. However, it does seem men are more reluctant.

    • Erinn says:

      That’s literally the most I know about Little Women. Once Joey was gutted over it, I was like “oh… maybe I won’t watch”.

      But a lot of CBers told me it was a great classic, so I think I’ll probably sit down and watch this version at some point. I really like Saoirse, so it won’t be a loss at all even if I don’t love it.

  8. Lightpurple says:

    The areas where the “old white men” would hurt are Best Picture, Director, and the technical categories like editing and sound because those are the male dominated groups (everyone votes on Best Picture.) The SAG turnout is puzzling because the voting group of actors is far more balanced.

    • BBBhill says:

      ugh, the guy that that won Best Editing at the oscars last year is Bryan Singers longtime editor. He’s worked on basically all of Singers projects…since 1990. He’s seen everything. It made me SICK. Also Bohemian Rhapsody winning Best Editing, WHAT A JOKE.

  9. Originaltessa says:

    I love the 90’s Winona Ryder version so much I just don’t have room in my heart for another. Christian Bale is and will forever be Laurie to me.

    • Ally says:

      Yes, this! Someone tell the bros that The Dark Knight is in that one.

      But seriously, both the black and white, and nineties versions are so well done, that this version feels redundant.

    • BBBhill says:

      YESSS! Winona Ryder version is IT

  10. clatie says:

    I’ve seen it. It’s FANTASTIC.

  11. Maria says:

    I’d rather see this than watch the self-indulgent pile of dog crap that was Marriage Story again.

  12. Penguin says:

    It looks mediocre at best. This film feels like Greta patting herself on the back for the film (can’t remember the title and not looking it up) that she directed last year. She’s a great actress, love most of the work she’s acted in

  13. BANANIE says:

    I think they’re being assholes for not seeing it because it’s their obligation to. But in general I don’t care if men in general don’t want to see it. No one should have to go see a movie they’re not interested in just because it would look good for them to and people would judge them if they didn’t.

  14. lucy2 says:

    I don’t know if any of the men I know are interested in seeing this, and fine, whatever, people can choose how they want to spend their time and money, BUT…if you are an Academy member, you should take it seriously and make every effort to see as many of the contending films as you can and give each one a fair chance.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      I agree with this. While I can understand how many men would not go to see this, Academy members should be required to do exactly that. A well-informed decision isn’t as debatable as, “I heard it was bad so I passed.”

  15. Mumbles says:

    I have a little Little Women fatigue – PBS and one of the British networks did a miniseries recently with Maya Hawke and Emily Watson, that I watched out of loyalty (I’ve seen all the other ones, with June Allyson winning because it was my first). But I will see this one eventually too, because I like the cast. And I heard there’s a different structural take in this one.

    But one thing that annoys me is when I think of all the movies in the past that are practically all male that have been shoved in our faces as “prestige” – Saving Private Ryan, Dunkirk, American Sniper, Hacksaw Ridge even Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker – and women don’t refuse to see those.

    • Kimberly says:

      the only movie you listed I have watched was saving private ryann….and the reason I have never seen the others is because they are all male driven movies, and I don’t waste my time with those…I commented to that effect below…I dont believe I’m a unicorn and have faith there are many woman like me out there =)

  16. Danielle says:

    I’ve seen it – it’s a great movie! Great cast, directing and the clothes are just beautiful. I do get the argument that it has been done before, but at the same time I feel like that’s been used as an excuse too? People were crawling all over A Star Is Born last year because of Bradly Cooper.

    • Kimberly says:

      didnt watch the Bradley cooper TsIB bc I’ve seen the other ones and didnt feel like I need to see this one….already knew what was gonna happen…..and Lady gaga isnt a reason to watch a movie….neither is Emma Watson or the cast of this newer version of little woman…if I was 15 and never saw the others maybe I’d watch LW.

  17. Stef says:

    I tried to watch lady bird and I just couldn’t. Idk, people rave about Greta like shes a great writer-directoe, I honestly dont see it. I prefer if they screen Queen and Slim

  18. Mariettaj81 says:

    I’m personally just not watching this movie due to it looking boring. Maybe it’s not. But it doesn’t look like something I would want to see.

    And also I’m not a fan of Greta Gerwig, so I don’t really want to pad her pockets.

  19. Jesys says:

    I dont care for “feminist” movies that feature only white ladies (dont come @ me abt it being a period piece and because i really dont care, like at all) let alone for Greta Gerwig and if Emma Watson is in a movie I instantly think its bad however if its your job to watch the award season movies then WATCH IT. It doesnt take that long!!!! I wasted 3+ hours of my life watching the irishman and although i thought Pesci and Pacino brilliant in it I was “really,man? Thats it?”. Anyways, truth is we read this same story every year. The industry hasnt changed at all.

  20. Kimberly says:

    it would be hypocritical of me to say something negative about them. I dont watch movies, or read books,.that have all men casts or a male pragmatist. Their stories are not attention grabbing for me. I have found them overall boring as hell….been there seen that.

    with that said….if your JOB is to do something you refuse to do, because you dont want to and deem it unworthy? You have the wrong job…

  21. CK says:

    I think that they’re skipping it because they always skip female and PoC centric films that don’t have the press around them forcing them to see it. If they can go to the remake of True Grit and the 20th variation of the white guy in a fat suit biopic, they can go see a remake of Little Women.

    That’s why the nominating pools has to be diverse. Certain films can’t compete if they don’t cater to a mostly white male voting demographic. These nominating boards need gender parity.

  22. Mo says:

    This is part of the problem with pushing the awards season so far forward. Nominations are being based solely on who is willing to go to a screening and/or watch a screener. At least before the movie got a chance to open and find their audience. If people were talking about the film, it helped the “awards buzz.” Now it’s just all PR hype. Rushing onto Netflix is a good thing now, because at least people will see the damn movie.

  23. Amy says:

    My (male) family member is in the Academy and the title of this post is inaccurate.

    Academy members are sent screeners of EVERY movie that is nominated to be nominated, which they typically watch at home. However, certain movies also host screenings in a theater where voters can see the film before the screener is sent out if they are particularly antsy to do so. Regardless of whether or not the voter attends the theater screening, he or she will *still* be sent the screener in the mail.

    What’s happening here is that most of the people showing up to theater screenings of Little Women (i.e., people who are particularly enthusiastic to see the movie and don’t want to wait for the screener to be sent in the mail) are women, which, duh (it’s “Little Women” for Pete’s sake.) It does NOT mean that male voters aren’t watching Little Women. Though it does indicate that this movie isn’t at the top of their “must see” list.

    Also, I should note that it isn’t members of the Academy (the people who vote for the Oscars) who’ve snubbed Little Women. The Academy hasn’t even voted for nominees yet and is still receiving screeners (voting starts January 2nd). My brother just received his Little Women screener three days ago. The only people who’ve even had a chance to snub the film are the Golden Globes and SAG voters…who are NOT members of the Academy!

  24. Katrine Troelsen says:

    Can we just say what we all know to be true: IF WHITE OLD MEN STARRED IN THIS, PPL WOULD WATCH IT.
    If u are an old guy, ppl watch your crap movie, if you are not, u have ONE SHOT and u have to make the most spectacular movie of all time. U dont get a second chance.

  25. Texas says:

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Little Women in general, but I will definitely watch it now.